Mental Sparks: RAWs

Writers tend to have vivid imaginations.  If they’re organized like I am, they probably have a dozen books on the subjects of writing better, plotting, structure, syntax and the like.  But I sometimes find that I can become too bogged down in the nitty-gritty to enjoy; that’s when writer’s block can come.  I’ve found ways to spark creativity in such times (like many writers have, and have made books out of them to share with others), and my way is called RAW:  Randomly Applied Word.

I have a wee box on my desk filled with bits of paper (folded, wadded, you name it), and on each one is written a single word.  I also have a dice in the box that has sides of “place,” “time,” “name,” etc. written on it to give me a further direction if I need it.  I pull out a word and start brainstorming; these have led to short stories, and two manuscripts (so far) that I will be finishing off as novels.  The key for me in the exercise is to think outside of the box – look at it from different camera angles, if you will.  For instance, I pulled the word Drought; automatically I thought of desert; but what if that desert weren’t the usual tan or red colour?  Something completely unexpected?  That led to a science fiction manuscript (in the queue to finish next!), and studies in geology.  Another word was Cardinal.  From that came a modern two-part fantasy novel, The Cardinal.

When I come across an interesting or unusual word, no matter where, I write it down and toss it in the box.  If you want to apply this exercise, get a creative or decorative box or tin (mine is a wooden treasure chest), and start scrapping!

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Filed under Nuts & Bolts, Writing Exercise

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